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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, we have a 15-week-old golden retriever who has only one descended testicle. I’m hoping #2 drops by 6 months, but who knows. If it doesn’t, I definitely understand the dangers of the retained testicle and want it removed. However, I also understand it’s important for a dog not to be neutered till at least a year for hormonal/growth plate reasons.

Has anyone had a unilaterally-cryptorchid dog where they only removed the testicle inside the abdomen? Is this unheard of? It seems like the best of both worlds to me as far as his health, but my current vet said it’s not something they do.
 

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It probably is unusual, but if you really want that, call around to other vets and see if you can find one willing. From what I know of the surgery, it wouldn't be that hard.

However, if you mean that you merely don't want the descended testicle removed until he's a year old and want a complete neuter at one year, then I think you should consider no surgery at all until he's one. I doubt the risk of cancer in the retained testicle is of malignancy developing that young, but you could also probably find vets at colleges and the like who would have an informed opinion.
 

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It probably is unusual, but if you really want that, call around to other vets and see if you can find one willing. From what I know of the surgery, it wouldn't be that hard.

However, if you mean that you merely don't want the descended testicle removed until he's a year old and want a complete neuter at one year, then I think you should consider no surgery at all until he's one. I doubt the risk of cancer in the retained testicle is of malignancy developing that young, but you could also probably find vets at colleges and the like who would have an informed opinion.
Honestly from what the research says about various health risks neuter vs intact I’d probably prefer to leave him half-intact
 

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A friend of mine who is a vet did that with her dog who had a retained testicle. You might need to see if you can find a reproductive specialist, though. https://www.therio.org/search/custom.asp?id=1107
Thank you for this! I searched my state and cryptorchidism and there seem to be a few near me, so I’m relieved. I’ll definitely be reaching out to these vets to see if they can help
 

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This is only tangentally related to your question but its something helpful to be aware of.

While neuters are generally pretty easy surgeries with spays a little bit more invasive; a cryptorchid neuter can be much more invasive on the abdomen depending on what the vet finds (or has to search for) once the dog is opened up.

A specialist might be able to do a smaller incision type surgery but the testicle might not be easy to find and can require some looking and manuvering to remove.

Basically, figure on a recovering time (in my fairly uneducated guess) of about double a normal spay or maybe 3x longer than normal neuter and more restrictions on activity during recovery. If things are easy, all the better but best to error on caution.
 

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Since I've had nothing but girls from-a-puppy for some years now, I haven't had neuters done, but my girls have been spayed laparoscopically. I wonder if nowadays there are vets who use laparoscopic procedures to find and remove retained testicles and so minimize the invasiveness of the procedure. That's something else I'd inquire about in the OP's shoes - with the understanding that's it's going to be more expensive.
 

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Since I've had nothing but girls from-a-puppy for some years now, I haven't had neuters done, but my girls have been spayed laparoscopically. I wonder if nowadays there are vets who use laparoscopic procedures to find and remove retained testicles and so minimize the invasiveness of the procedure. That's something else I'd inquire about in the OP's shoes - with the understanding that's it's going to be more expensive.
Hopefully. It was about 8 years ago that I had a puppy neutered with undescended testicles and the explanation from the vet was that they can drop into the abdomen in awkward ways behind the muscles or whatnot. So, after they opened him up on one side, turned out that they had to go in from the other side to minimally disturb the abdominal area. On spays, the uterus is basically always in the same location and found on the first try.

The vet indicated that this was not an unusual result for such a neuter. He had a lot of fluid retention and some swelling, no infection, but a lot of stitches and crate time for two weeks.
 

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Hopefully. It was about 8 years ago that I had a puppy neutered with undescended testicles and the explanation from the vet was that they can drop into the abdomen in awkward ways behind the muscles or whatnot. So, after they opened him up on one side, turned out that they had to go in from the other side to minimally disturb the abdominal area.
My understanding is that if the undescended testicle is not high but just beyond the inguinal ring, it's not that bad a surgery. If the undescended testicle is deep in the abdomen, then it can be. Don't know the percentages of right there or up high and hidden.

So I was thinking that with a laparoscope, a surgeon could find a hidden testicle with much less trauma to everything internal than if a surgeon is exploring with hands and scalpel. I don't know if that's possible, of course, and if it is, the dog would have to go to a vet who had the equipment. Most vets don't. I had to take my girls to a hospital other than the one I use regularly to have it done, and the cost was roughly double what an ordinary spay would be.

I'm thinking about a puppy myself these days, and with two girls now, a male would be smart. If he had this problem, I'd sure find out about the above, but then I tend to run to specialists with anything vaguely outside the norm.
 

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On spays, the uterus is basically always in the same location and found on the first try.
OP, please forgive the digression from your question.

Shell, just so you know, with the laparoscopic spay, the uterus is not removed - only the ovaries. At least that's the procedure I had done, and I did some research on it beforehand and found no references to uterus removal. My reason was that every female dog I'd ever had spayed developed spay incontinence at some time in her life. I also know of a couple of bitches that came through our rescue that developed it pretty early on. Of mine, one started within a couple years of the surgery; for the others it came in senior years. It's treatable, forget the name of the drug, but it means taking the med every day, and my one Akita didn't respond to it or to hormones.

Anyway, in an ordinary spay, as you probably know, they pull the uterus right out and then incise it. It makes sense to me that not doing that is less traumatic to surrounding organs (like the bladder), and the procedure already had successful history of use in Europe. No vet could tell me if just the uterus would give the dog a trickle of estrogen, but they didn't rule it out either. I've had that procedure done to three girls now. One made it to 11-3/4 and suffered no incontinence even in her last days with lymphoma. The others are now 8 and 6 with no sign of the problem. If they make it all the way without incontinence, it will IMO have been worth it.
 

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How invasive the surgery to remove a retained testicle is does depend on where the testicle is. If it's close the where it belongs, then it's usually not much more than a regular neuter. On the other hand, it's it's lurking up around the kidney, then it is a larger incision and some fishing around. If it's inside the abdomen, then doing an ultrasound before the surgery to locate it is helpful.
 
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On the other hand, it's it's lurking up around the kidney, then it is a larger incision and some fishing around. If it's inside the abdomen, then doing an ultrasound before the surgery to locate it is helpful.
I shall remember that in the remote event that I ever need such a surgery done - ultrasound first.
 

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I know of a couple of monorchid dogs that were never neutered at all. The issue is that the retained teste may become a growth that can become very very large as the dog gets older.

If I had such a dog I would probably wait until the dog was 2 and then have the dog entirely neutered taking both the descended and undescended testicles.
 

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While technically right, that 'growth' is testicular cancer, and it's more likely to be a malignant form of cancer when it happens within the abdomen. Not to mention it's much harder to catch testicular cancer early on a retained testicle because the owner can't directly observe it.

While I don't think it's a huge risk to leave the testicle for a year or two so the dog can benefit from sex hormones during development, the tenfold increase in risk of testicular cancer shouldn't be downplayed either.
 
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